Lance Whitney Van de Castle, 54, of Madison, Virginia died Thursday, March 22, 2007, as a result of an automobile accident.
Born October 6, 1952, in Columbia, Missouri, he was the second of five sons of Doris J. Van Valkenburg Van de Castle and Robert L. Van de Castle. He was predeceased by his mother and by his older brother, Brett O. Van de Castle. He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Karen Cordray Van de Castle of Madison, Va.; his father; and by his brothers, Keith D. Van de Castle of Summertown, Tennessee; and Craig G. Van de Castle and Drake C. Van de Castle, both of Charlottesville; and by his nephews and nieces.
Mr. Van de Castle was a 1970 graduate of Albemarle High School where he played football and ran track, setting a school record in the discus throw. At Hampden-Sydney College, from which he graduated in 1974 with a degree in history, Mr. Van de Castle was active in student government and was co-editor his senior year of the student newspaper. He played tight end and defensive lineman for a team that went 39-2 during his four years, earning all-state and all-conference honors his junior and senior years. He also ran hurdles and threw the discus for the track team.
After college, Mr. Van de Castle was a freelance sportswriter for the Daily Progress and spent several years at his family's property in Brown's Cove renovating an old farmhouse and building a log cabin from logs he had felled and notched himself. He then entered the building trades as a carpenter and homebuilder, eventually becoming a project estimator or project manager for R.E. Lee and Son, Hauser Homes, Barton-Malow, and the Faulconer Construction Corporation, where he was working at the time of his death. For the past 14 years, Mr. Van de Castle taught carpentry classes at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center, and was currently serving as President of the CATEC Foundation. He also served as Zoning Administrator for the town of Gordonsville, as Assistant Zoning Administrator for the town of Madison Planning Commission, and sat on the town of Madison's Board of Zoning Appeals.
Mr. Van de Castle was a talented and enthusiastic rugby player, serving as Captain of the Virginia Rugby Football Club for four years during the late 1970s. During his tenure as Captain, the Virginia club twice won the Commonwealth Cup tournament, their first wins since the Cup's inception in 1960. He helped organize tours for the club to Ireland, to England and France, to Mexico, to Montreal, and to the Bahamas. As a long-time member of the select Eastern Rugby Union, Mr. Van de Castle played at the highest levels of amateur rugby in the United States for many years, and in 1977 he was invited to the United States National Trials. He remained active in Old Boy tournaments until his death; in 2005 he was an integral member of the Virginia Cardinals, an over-45 select squad that captured four tournament titles across the United States, including the prestigious Aspen Ruggerfest, without losing a match. He produced journals for the Virginia club's tours, and over the years contributed many articles to Rugby and Rugby USA magazines.
Mr. Van de Castle, affectionately called Ace by his family and friends, was a popular and likeable figure known to many for his easy manner and ready laugh. Lance was a big man with a big heart. He enjoyed thoroughly the pleasures of conversation and fellowship, and cultivated the art of finding joy in life. He spent countless happy hours at his mountain valley retreat in Madison with his wife and many four-legged companions. He took pride in his Scots heritage, and competed in Highland Games in Virginia and North Carolina, tossing the caber and hurling the 54-pound stone. As a young man, he twice accompanied his father on research trips to the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama, and traveled with his family on the Pan-American Highway from Panama back to Charlottesville. He was a loving husband, a devoted son, and a solid brother. His good spirits and friendly soul will be missed.